Tag Archives: knitting

Completed: The Aiken Sweater

19 Sep

Yay for finished knitting projects!

Aiken Sweater

This is the Aiken pullover from Andi Satterlund (aka my faaaavorite knit designer, to whom I should probably just establish a direct deposit of a portion of my paychecks, because, YES). Aiken is everything I love in a knit project – seamless, top down construction, knit in the round on worsted weight yarn, with just a little bit of lace to keep things interesting.

Aiken Sweater

Aiken Sweater

I knit the XS (size range goes up to 3X, whoop whoop), using my normal size 6 needles and this delightfully soft and squishy Debbie Bliss Rialto yarn (oh shit, I just realized this is 100% Merino and here I’ve been telling everyone who will listen that it’s Cashmerino… I’m a lying piece of shit, you guys. But really, it is SOFT). By the way, I LOVE these Debbie Bliss yarns. This is the second sweater I’ve knit up with ‘em (the first one being my Cashmerino cowl neck sweater, well, I reckon there’s where I was assuming this one also involved cashmere, ha), and they’re just so lovely and soft with the most beautiful saturated colors.

The Debbie Bliss yarns are kind of expensive, though – around $10+ for a 100 yd skein (compared to Cascade 220, which I think I pay around $11 for a 220 yd skein at my local yarn store) (yes, I know it’s a little cheaper online, but I want to keep my LYS in business, thanks, bye). With that being said – my favorite yarn shop – Haus of Yarn – has an awesome sale at the end of every year where they mark a big chunk of the yarns at half off – and there’s always some Debbie Bliss lurking in the piles. So these skeins were $5 a pop, which made this sweater cost me a very affordable $30. Can’t beat that with a stick!

Aiken Sweater

This pattern is relatively plain – the body and arms are plain stockinette, with 1×1 ribbing at the edges. The neckline is a very simple slash – it’s not finished with ribbing, so it has a soft roll, which I think is very pretty! And then there’s the lace inset, which is mirrored for both the front and back. As far as lace goes, this one is preeetty simple. It’s not super mindless lace like the Myrna – there’s a little more stitchcraft involved. I did have to unpick a couple of rows when I missed a yarn over and thus messed up my count, but it’s not so bad. The good news is that you start at the top, so you get the longest part done first and then progress to less lace knitting as you go down to the tip of the V. Then you combine the whole thing into a tube and knit in endless circles for the rest of the way.

THEN, because there’s no neckline finishing or button bands to contend with – you just block it and wear it! SO gratifying! OMG I love knitting pullovers!

Aiken Sweater

My sweater is worn with about 1″-2″ of negative ease, which is why it’s a little more fitted than the version in Andi’s shop. The lacework surprisingly doesn’t dip as far as I thought it would – I’m not wearing anything under the sweater (well, I mean other than a bra haha), and there’s absolutely no danger of cleavage flashing. That being said, I don’t have much cleavage to begin with sooo that might also have a lot to do with it :) I really like to way it looks with my polka dot trousers, though! I imagine it’ll also look pretty ace with a collared shirt underneath it. And it’s the perfect length for wearing with high-waisted skirts.

Aiken Sweater

(not sure why I basically took the same picture twice. Deal with it?)

Aiken Sweater

Love the back! ♥

Aiken Sweater

Aiken Sweater

It took me a little over 2 months to knit this – which is slow for me, but has also become my new normal, if that makes sense (gone are the days of my luxurious one hour knitting break at the office – I still have an hour to knit, yes, but I’m usually home and DAMMIT I’d rather sew! :)). It was a relatively easy knit, and I think would make a great first sweater pattern if you’re somewhat comfortable with knitting lace.

Full Ravelry notes are here.

Aiken Sweater

That’s all, folks! Right now I’m working on my first pair of socks (I haven’t gotten to turning the heel yet, so I’m going to refrain from commenting on whether or not they’re easy until I get to that point! But so far, the cuff has been easy :) HAHA) – but I’m still dreaming of sweaters! What should I knit next? Would love to do another pullover; I’m a little cardigan’d out at this point :) Looking at Berwick, Ease, Cloudy Sunday (maybe lengthen those sleeves, tho), or Praline – what would you choose? Alternately – what’s on your needles right now?

(Psst! Not a knitter but want some handmade cardigans nonetheless? Don’t forget to enter the Jenna Cardi Giveaway for a chance to win an awesome cardigan sewing pattern PDF! Giveaway ends on Monday morning ;) )

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Completed: My Finished OAL Dresses!

28 Jul

Good morning, everyone! I hope your AM is filled with lots of sunshine, like mine, and coffee, unlike mine (because, *ahem* someone forgot to mention we were out after he made a pot yesterday). Anyway, that’s neither here nor there – you came here to see finished dresses and sweaters, right? Let’s get to it!

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

Fair warning – this is a pretty picture-intensive post. I have two dresses to show plus a cardigan! (You’re so lucky that I don’t have two sweaters. I tried, but the second one is technically a vest right now soooo…). While I could theoretically stretch this out into 3 posts, I actually really hate it when people do that so I’m just dumping it all in one glorious picture-filled OAL extravaganza! Hope you don’t mind looking at my mug ;)

Speaking of which… you probably noticed the change in scenery, not to mention actual decent looking photos. That’s because I didn’t take them! Ha! All photo credit for this post goes to my lovely friend, Jenna, of Kitty Cat Stevens (you may recognize her photos from last year; she took those ace ones of my Lace trench). She really did an amazing job with these and I just love how they turned out!

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

Dress #1 was made with a lightweight cotton from Mood Fabrics (purchased at the NY location while I was there in March). The bodice is view C with cap sleeves, a softly pleated skirt and a lapped zipper.

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

LOOKS SO GOOD WITH MY HAIR.

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

Dress #2 was made with a gorgeous rayon challis from Grey’s Fabric. I used the same pattern, swapped out the bodice for view B with bias-faced arm holes, a softly gathered skirt and an invisible zipper.

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

The hem on this one is finished with rayon seam binding. So pretty!
OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

Finally – here’s Myrna herself! I guess I can talk a little more about this part of the project since I haven’t really mentioned it much on my blog (unlike that entire OAL full of posts, ha).

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

Can I just say – I LOVE THIS CARDIGAN. It was super fun and super easy to knit, not to mention super fast (how many more times can I say super in this post?). According to my Ravelry, I finished it in just under a month.

I went with the size XS, getting gauge with size 6 needles (which is typical for me + worsted weight yarn + Andi’s patterns).

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

The yarn is (super?)AMAZING, isn’t it? Something I picked up from my local yarn store, Haus of Yarn- I knew I wanted neon yellow to go with the fabric for dress #1, so I took a swatch with me and went lurkin’. Maybe it’s just my yarn store (granted, we have more in this city – actually, a surprising number of really good yarn stores – but this particular store is less than two miles from my house, so obviously I like shopping here best haha), but they never seem to have the color I want in the weight/fiber I prefer! In this case, they only had a couple options for neon yellow worsted weight wool. Because I am an adult, I picked the most expensive option – this is Jill Draper Makes Stuff, and the color is Daffodil. At $26.50 per skein, it was definitely a splurge, but I only needed 2 skeins for this sweater so I figured it was worth it :) Spoiler: It totally was! This yarn was a dream to work with – so soft and squishy, with a beautiful saturated color gradient. I don’t know if this particular yellow looks any good on me, but I also don’t give a fuck because it makes me happy.

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

I knit the pattern 100% as written, and had no issues. Blocked it with a bit of gentle shampoo (I keep meaning to get that special wool washing/no rinse shit they sell at my LYS, but since I went over budget with the yarn I had to put it back. Maybe next time. Maybe never lolz). True story: I forgot to finish the keyhole until after I’d blocked the whole thing, so I had to go back and keep knitting. I’m glad I did, though – I was on the fence about the keyhole because it looks kind of wonky at first, but once it’s finished it really does make a world of difference!

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

The button bands are stabilized with Petersham ribbon. Because this cardigan has a v-neck, I steamed the Petersham with a gentle curve to mimic the shape of the neckline, and stopped it a little above the top button hole (so, before you ask: no, it doesn’t go all the way around the neck). I used this tutorial from Sunni’s blog for guidance – she’s using it to hem a skirt, but it’s the same concept with the neckline, with a less aggressive curve. The vintage glass buttons are from my stash, previously purchased at the flea market.

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

I love how well the sweater goes with dress #2, because that was not planned at all! I didn’t decide to make a second dress until I’d already started the sewalong, and knit about half of the sweater. They do look good together, though. Yay for unintentional matching!

How are y’all doing with your OAL garments? Almost finished? Remember – the deadline to enter is this Thursday, July 31. Don’t forget to post your finished outfits in the Ravelry thread, which will give us all full lurking capabilities and also enter your ass to win some prizes. We also have the Offical Unoffical Flickr Group if you don’t use Ravelry/only finished a dress – but please be aware that your two pieces need to be uploaded to the Ravelry thread to be eligible for the contest :) I’m loving all the dresses and sweaters I’ve seen so far, and I need to see MORE PLS.

Feeling inspired? Here’s a link to all the tutorials covered during the OAL:
1: Choosing Your Fabric and Size
2: Cutting and Marking Your Fabric
3: Sewing the Bodice
4: Sewing Sleeves or Bias Facing
5: Attaching the Skirt
6: Inserting a Lapped Zipper (see also: My Method for Invisible Zippers)
7: Hemming & Finishing
How to Stabilize a Buttonband with Petersham Ribbon (not part of the official OAL, but useful nonetheless!)
FINALLY, you can see my Myrna Ravelry notes here.

OAL 2014: Completed Simplicity 1803 + Myrna Cardigan

Whew! That’s a lotta post for a coffee-deprived Monday morning! ;)

Tutorial: How to Stablize a Buttonband with Petersham

20 Jun

Stablizing a buttonband with Petersham

A promised, here is the much-requested tutorial for adding Petersham ribbon to the button band of your handknits! This is a little trick I’ve done for nearly all my handknits since I started cranking ‘em out… it’s not 100% necessary for finishing your knits (so please don’t be freaking out if you’ve never heard of this technique before!), but it is super handy if you wear knits with negative ease and have problems with the button band/button holes gaping open. We are basically going to take a firm woven ribbon and sew it to the inside of the button band, so it will stabilize the knit and prevent it from stretching and thus gaping open.

I know there are a million ways to do this particular technique; this is my personal favorite TNT. It involves hand sewing and machine-worked button holes (although they are not sewn through the sweater as done in (Tasha’s tutorial from a few years ago). I personally like to use Petersham ribbon as my stabilizer – it’s relatively inexpensive, wears well and feels luxurious. You can also use grosgrain ribbon, seam binding, firm lace, satin ribbon, or even fabric selvedge – whatever you want! I ain’t here to judge :)

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
You will need: your finished+blocked cardigan, a length of petersham ribbon (this will vary depending on the length of your sweater, but aim for approximately the length of your button band x2 plus a couple inches to fold under), and your buttons.
NOTE: I am using 1″ wide petersham for this particular sweater. The width of your petersham may vary, depending on how wide your button band is. Always measure to be sure!

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
Measure your ribbon to the length of your button bands plus about 1″ extra (for 1/2″ overhang at both the top and bottom of the button band), and cut two pieces to this length.

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
OPTIONAL: You may want to interface one piece of the petersham, so the button holes are reinforced. Just cut a strip of interfacing on the straight grain and fuse it to one side of one piece of ribbon. Set the non-interfaced ribbon aside for now.

** Yes, your interfacing will show slightly on the outside of your sweater, if your gauge is loose enough. If this is a concern (obviously it’s not a concern with this sweater; but I could see how using white interfacing+black sweater miiiight look a little weird!), you might consider making a Petersham sandwich and using two lengths of the ribbon with the interfacing in between. I haven’t personally tried this, but it makes sense in my head. Also, now I want a sandwich. I just ate breakfast. Fuck.

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
Pin the interfaced ribbon to wrong side of the button band with the button holes, interfacing side on the inside, and fold under the top and bottom edges by 1/2″. Try to center the ribbon so that there is about a stitch’s worth of overhang on the outside edge of the button band.

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
Use a marking tool to mark a small dot in the center of each button hole, on the interfaced side of the petersham. You may want to use chalk or disappearing ink; I used a sharpie because I’m a terrible person with no morals.

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
Take the petersham off the button band and, using your sewing machine, stitch button holes at each of the markings you made. Dab each button hole with a drop of Fray Check (this is optional, but I think it makes for a cleaner/non-hairy button hole) and allow to completely dry. Carefully cut all the button holes open.
PROTIP: Test your button hole size first on a scrap of interfaced petersham so you can be sure that your buttons fit the holes! Ain’t nobody got time for wrong size button holes.

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
Open your sweater up and pin the petersham to the inside of each button band. Match the petersham with the buttonholes to the button band with the button holes (being careful to make sure that each button hole is aligned so that they can be used!), and match the other petersham on the button side of the button band. On both bands, fold the petersham under 1/2″ at the top and bottom. Again, try to center the ribbon so that there is about a stitch’s worth of over hang on the outside edge of each button band (this is just so it looks nice :) ).

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
Here’s a close-up of my ribbon pinned to the button band. You can see there is a little bit of button band overhang on either side of the ribbon.

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
Now is a good time to check and make sure that the button bands are the same length on your sweater. If one is longer than the other (which can totally happen if you stretched the button band while pinning everything down), unpin and readjust until they are the exact same length.

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
Now time to stitch! Using doubled-up thread, whipstitch all the way around all 4 sides of the petersham, starting at the top and working your way around. Do this to both button bands.

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
Here’s another photo of the handstitching. Try to keep your stitches evenly spaced (this will give them more strength, in addition to just looking nice!) and try not to gouge a big chunk your sweater yarn with each stitch.

Don’t worry about stitching around the edges of the button holes. I always leave mine loose, and I’ve never had a problem with the buttons getting stuck and/or not being stabilized enough. I imagine if you were using super huge buttons – like, 2″ big buttons – you might want to sew around the edges, but for buttons smaller than 3/4″ it’s fine to leave them unsecured.

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
Once your button bands are stabilized with ribbon, lay them petersham sides together and raw edges matching.

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
Stabilizing a button band with petersham
Stick a pin down the center of each button hole.

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
Stabilizing a button band with petersham
Gently pull the button bands apart, pulling the head of the pin through the button hole and leaving it sticking in the button side of the ribbon.

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
Now you can use the pins as a guideline for where to sew your buttons! This ensures that they are exactly centered in the button band and also aligned with the button holes.

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
And there you go! Stabilized button bands with NO GAPE!

Stabilizing a button band with petersham

Stabilizing a button band with petersham

Stabilizing a button band with petersham
God, is that just like, the sexiest button band or what.

Hetty
And here’s the sweater on me! (Hetty, in case you missed the post!) Notice that the lacework is nice and open, thanks to the negative ease – but the button band is strong and secure and there is no pulling at the button holes. Oh petersham, how I love you ♥

Aaaaaand, that’s it! Told y’all this was an easy technique :) Now, go forth and conquer that button gape once and for all!

Completed: The Hetty Cardigan

11 Jun

Omg, when was the last time I posted a completed knitting project? It’s been far too long.

Hetty

I guess we can make up for it now! Everyone, meet Hetty :)

Hetty

Hetty is a sweet, cropped cardigan knit entirely in lace, which makes it perfect for warmer spring/summer months. The cardigan is knit seamlessly from the top-down, which means there’s no seaming after you’ve finished the knitting – just a block and buttons and it’s ready-to-wear! I really prefer these seamless top-down (and occasionally bottom-up) patterns, as the whole seaming thing just really puts me off haha.

Hetty

As you can see, I went the copycat route and basically copied Andi verbatim with my pretty spring green yarn. Both the pattern and the yarn were actually gifted to me by reader/Ravelry follower, Julia. I was planning on joining the Hetty Knit Along when I received these goodies (which means I’ve been sitting on this pattern+yarn for… almost a year now, eep!), but other projects got in the way and I wasn’t actually able to start this until March. Oh well! Better late than never :)

Hetty

So… let’s talk about this pattern a little. Theoretically, this is a fairly simple pattern with VERY easy lace work. The open lace work, the cropped length, and the short(ish) sleeves mean that this should be a pretty quick knit. For me, I did struggle a lot with getting the lace work to properly match up. This is because the side seams are knitted in stockinette, so that the decreases can fit. Since the stockinette count can change from row to row, I had a hard time remembering *where* to start my lacework pattern, and thus a lot of it did not line up. I ripped out a significant amount of this sweater – including the entire back about four times (I think, I lost count because it was just too depressing haha), because I hated how the lacework wasn’t lining up. Despite all this ripping out, I still got the sweater finished in about two and a half months. I can only manage to knit a couple of hours a week at this point, so that’s pretty freaking fast!

Hetty

Here is my biggest tip regarding that damn lacework – once you start getting to stockinette territory, place a marker at the beginning of one of the lacework repeats. Doesn’t matter which one (although I’d recommend one that is a couple repeats away from where the stockinette begins) – this will just give you a visual indication of where a lace repeat needs to START, and from there you can count back to the beginning and see how many lace repeats will fit/need to be turned into stockinette. I hope this makes sense! It’s kind of hard to tell where the repeats start when you’re in the middle of a row, and I’m pretty fucking awful at tell where patterns start when I’m looking at them vertically, so this was the only way I could keep the lace pattern consistent and stacked correctly. I also only figured this out one I got to the second sleeve, hence all my ripping out. Oh well – learn from my mistakes, ok? :)

Hetty

Here you can sort of see the lace repeat as it turns into stockinette. Very clever for the way this is constructed, as you don’t have to worry about messing up the lace with additional decreases, but like I said – it can totally get confusing. Use those stitch markers!

Hetty

Hetty

Also, that “easy to memorize” lace pattern was VERY hard for me to memorize! I did finally get the hang of it… again, about halfway through the second sleeve. Haha! Oh well!

Hetty

Despite my big giant lace-induced headache, this was a fun sweater to knit up. I really love the open lace design and I’ve already gotten quite a bit of wear out of it – the light, open lace makes this so nice to wear in chilly air conditioned buildings, and the color is nice and summery :)

Hetty

Hetty

I used Cascade 220 yarn (my favorite! ♥) to knit this, and I made the size Small. Based on my gauge swatch, I was able to get gauge with size 6 needles (seems about right for me + worsted weight yarn). Fair warning – this sweater is pretty tiny while it’s being knitted. I can’t even tell you how many people asked me who’s baby I was knitting a sweater for haha (Answer: NO BABIES! Are you fucking KIDDING me?? haha!). But as you can see, it blocked out very nicely! I soaked this guy in warm water and squished it around on a towel until the lace opened up and the size was accurate for my body. I just love how it turned out!

Hetty

Hetty

Hetty

Oh, and I’m wearing my navy Hollyburn in these photos, fyi. Thought they kind of showed the skirt better than the photos in the last post! Plus, I love combination of these two colors :)

Hetty

I promise I did take photos of the sweater laid out in all it’s fully glory, but Flickr REFUSED to believe that the files were actual photo files. So… have some close-ups, I guess?

Hetty

Vintage buttons + petersham at the button band! I used neon yellow petersham because that’s what I had on hand, and I think it looks really pretty with the green :)

Speaking of Petersham, I did take photos of the process of attaching it to the button band, so keep an eye on this space next week for a TUTORIAL! Woohoo! I’ve had loads of people ask how I attach the petersham, so hopefully this will be helpful to ya :)

Hetty

Love looking at close-ups of handknits :)

Hetty

Sooo, there ya go! Pretty Hetty, just in time for… summer ;) Now to finish my Sunshine yellow Myrna for the OAL (which is coming along FAST – almost done with the first sleeve!). Full Ravelry notes on Hetty can be found here.

Giveaway: Knitting Patterns from Andi Satterlund

13 Jan

I’ve got a really fun giveaway for y’all today! Assuming you like knitting… if not, what’s holding you back?? :)

As you all know probably know by now, Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots is my not-even-trying-to-make-this-a-secret Knitting Girl Crush. I don’t want to call myself obsessive, per se, but every single one of her knittng patterns has a solid spot in my queue, and I’ve personally knit and finished (and worn!) half a dozen of her patterns for myself. I can’t help it – her designs are beautiful, flattering, fit my body shape exactly, and there is always some new construction trick to learn.

Aiken_Front_02_test_medium2
Aiken Pullover

My very favorite part about Andi’s patterns is how they are constructed. Every knitter has his or her own personal preference for knitting – some like knitting each piece and seaming them together, some prefer to knit things entirely in the round with no seaming. I fall in the latter camp – it’s so fun to watch the shape emerge as you complete the pattern, plus, you can pull it on to tweak the fit as you knit. Not to mention once you’re done, you’re done! No seaming necessary :) All of Andi’s patterns are knit this way – one piece, in the round (top-down or bottom-up depending on the particular pattern in question). Sleeves are set in with short rows and button bands are picked up and knit directly along the edge. Like I said – NO SEAMING. Miracles all up in this bitch!

chuck06_medium2
Chuck cabled pullover

Another thing I really love about her patterns is the sizing. This is really a personal preference – my body just happens to fit exxxactly into that XS size. I love it! However, if you don’t have the same sort of hourglass figure that the patterns are written for (and there’s a full schematic on the back of each pattern with a zillion finished measurements, so as long as you gauge swatch matches up you can be pretty sure exactly what you’re in store for), they are pretty easy to tweak thanks to the in-the-round construction. Not to mention, the bust measurements range from 29″-50″+, so you’re much more likely to find a size that fits you :)

he06_medium2
Hetty Lace Cardigan

Not into knitting sweaters quite yet (well, what’s stopping you? ;))? Andi also has a nice selection of non-sweater knits – cowls, hats, and fingerless gloves. Most of the accessories patterns include some colorwork – such as the Stray beret in leopard print which I’m dying to knit, or the super fun Bernadine Cowl which has ball of yarn knitted into the design – but there are also even simpler accessories, such as Salt and Bea. Again – what’s stopping you from knitting a sweater, though? :)

wiw21_medium2
Geralindine Pullover and Ethel Beret

Feeling inspired yet? Look at all the makes I’ve whipped up using Andi’s patterns-
Agathamy mustard Agathaon Ravelry
Agatha(again!) – my Blagathaon Ravelry
Miettemy navy Mietteon Ravelry
Chuckmy red Chuckon Ravelry
Marionmy red Marionon Ravelry
From A to Zmy L is for Laurenon Ravelry

Yikes, that’s a lot of links! Hopefully that gets the creative juices flowing, though :)

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED


All right, here’s the fun part – Andi has generously offered to give away a small prize pack of 3 of her patterns, chosen by one lucky winner! Yay! To enter, all you need to do is check out her Ravelry store and tell me in the comments what 3 individual patterns you would choose if that winner is you (sorry, y’all, the Wrapped in Wool package is not included in this giveaway. But you could totally pick 3 of those individual patterns if that’s your jam ;)). That’s it! This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and I will close the comments one week from today, January 20, 2014 at 8PM CST.

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

6006265625_f95c9a68c7_n
If you’ve yet to knit your first sweater and feel terrified at the prospect, perhaps I can tempt you with the gorgeous Agatha? It was my first sweater, too! ;)

Good luck!

Completed: The Owls Sweater

2 Jan

Happy New Year, everyone!! Gah, I feel like I really dumped a load on y’all with my last post… sorry about that! I promise to keep things much more concise, at least with the current offerings :) And before we get too far into the new year, I do have one small confession – I actually finished this sweater at the very end of 2013! Whoops! So it’s not my first completed garment of 2014 (and it’s sweater #9 of 2013, wow!), but we’re going to count is as such since that’s when the pictures surfaced :)

Let me introduce you to: Owls!

Owls!

I’m sure a lot of you knitters already recognize this pattern, since it’s insanely popular on Ravelry. Truth, this was one of the sweaters that really made me want to improve my knitting skills enough to be able to have one of my own! This is the famous owls pattern by Kate Davies and there’s a good reason why it’s so overplayed (in the best way, I mean) – it’s a simple, quick knit and looks flattering on pretty much everyone who makes it up!

Owls!

Like I said, this has been in my queue for aaaages. So long! Part of what made me waffle on starting it up was finding a suitable bulky weight yarn that didn’t cost a fortune – some of the stuff I was looking was pretty pricey! Eep! I was actually gifted the pattern by Jo for my birthday last year (did you know you can gift patterns on Ravelry? So dangerous…), which really pushed me to try to find a good yarn.

Owls!

What ended up working for me was the Valley Yarns Northampton Bulky from good ol’ yarn.com. What I loved about this yarn was that it was cheap (I think I paid $3.99 a skein, but it’s normally $5.99!), 100% wool, and it came in colors that didn’t suck. I know a lot of people love that Cascade 128 that comes in a giant yardage, but I never cared for the colors offered and plus, with the amount I needed I would end up with a lot of unneeded yardage. So this worked out perfectly.

Owls!

Thanks to the bulky yarn, this pattern knit up SUPER fast – I finished it in a little over 3 weeks. That’s a record for me! Definitely needed after how long I toiled on my A to Z cardigan :) The construction for this was pretty interesting – it’s knit bottom-up to the armpits, then you knit each sleeve from the bottom up, then you connect everything and finish the owls and the neck binding. It gets a bit heavy at the end, but fortunately there’s not too long of that.

Owls!

I love how the owls wrap around the shoulders. So cute!

Owls!

I knit the pattern as-is, and there were a few things I didn’t care much for during the process. For one, the back decreases were kind of… weird? I think it also gives me a slightly poofy upper back, although it’s more noticeable in pictures. I would have changed to side decreases – it was even suggested to me by a few people – but the construction was so weird that I didn’t quite understand where the sides started, so I just followed the instructions blindly. Oh well! It doesn’t look bad, I just think the bad is a weird place to put decreases! Another thing I did not like was how the sleeves were attached, because you end up grafting stitching at the underarms. There are 4 stitches to graft, but my holes were WAY bigger than 4 stitches! It was like an armpit window or some shit! I managed to close it up and you can’t even tell, but man, that’s more sewing than I want to do on a knit. Sorry.

Owls!

One last beef, and you’ll probably notice this the second I point it out (if you didn’t notice already ;)) – I ran out of yarn at the very end! I bought the recommended yardage (oh ho ho, I actually bought a whopping 5 yards more than required, like, I’m such an adult), but I obviously goofed something because I ran out of skeins while finishing the owl cables. Shit! And since I ordered this online, I didn’t want to pay for shipping to ship one whole skein to me for like… 5 rows of knitting. I unraveled my two gauge swatches (bummer, because I was saving them to make a blanket o’ gauge swatches, like, someday haha) and still came up short. I hemmed and hawed for a few days, dug around my stash, lurked the yarn store by my house… and eventually realized that the black yarn I used to knit my Blagatha was an *almost* perfect match. Not quite, but close enough. Since the donor yarn is a lighter weight, I held it double and it worked out fine to finish the ribbing. It doesn’t quite match, but it blends into kind of an ombre effect. Fancy!

Owls!

The most agonizing part about the whole yarn ordeal was that once I blocked the sweater, I realized the sleeves were too long! DERP. So, yeah, I totally had enough yarn! Whatever, fuck that shit. They’ll just stay cuffed and maybe my arms will magically lengthen someday :B

Owls!

You probably also notice that I left off the eyes on all my owls. I started to sew on buttons, but decided I like them more subtle. So there!

Owls!

Owls!

This puppy is WARM! I’ll probably live in this for the remainder of winter. I love how it looks with this silk skirt (which, btw, is vintage, not me-made – but now I’m thinking, ooh, silk Zinnia??). Anyway, full Ravelry notes here!

Owls!

One last thing… we have a giveaway winner from last year! Ooh, so who’s the lucky recipient of the $25 credit at She’ll Make You Flip?

win79

winmeow

Congratulations, SewMeow! Go check your inbox! :)

Thanks to everyone who entered, and thanks to She’ll Make You Flip for offering such a lovely prize! Guys, if you’re still eyeballing a sweet vintage pattern, let’s up the ante a little! Use the code LLADYBIRDNY25 for 25% your total purchase through January 15, 2014! Yeah! Now don’t say I never did nothin’ for ya ;)

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